Some writers outline and some don’t. Some writers outline some stories, but don’t outline other stories. Some writers create vague outlines, and some create very detailed outlines.

None of that’s right or wrong.

There are some writers who say they never use an outline (sometimes these writers are called pantsers – meaning writing by the seat-of-your-pants). These writers often say they see a character in their mind or the beginning of a story, and then they just start writing from that point, seeing where the story takes them.

I wish I could write like that. But I can’t.

I’m going to tell you what I do, but I do what works best for me, and I recommend that you do what works best for you whether it’s outlining, starting from the beginning of a story and seeing where it takes you, or something in between. I outline, plain and simple. I need to outline before I begin working on a project. I need to know the basic structure of the story I’m writing: the beginning, the middle, and the ending. I need to know a lot about the main characters. I admit that I spend a lot of time on outlines, sometimes weeks or even months before I begin the first draft. My outlines can get pretty detailed, sometimes ten or twelve typed pages, where I break the story down into “scenes” or “beats.” And, for me anyway, having a pretty detailed outline (and character bios and some basic research) helps the first draft come out pretty smoothly and quickly.

Well, usually the first draft comes out pretty quickly.

That’s not to say I haven’t struggled with some of my stories even with a fairly detailed outline. For me, some books are just easier to write than others.

I don’t want you to think that an outline is something etched in stone. I like to think of an outline as a fluid thing, more of a list of suggestions rather than a blueprint. Most of the time my stories or books take different routes from the outline I’ve written, sometimes resulting in very different scenes than I had anticipated – that’s the beauty of writing; it can take on a life of its own once you start putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). Most of the time, characters will come alive and take on lives of their own, taking me down a path I wasn’t expecting. But, with that said, I still already know the very basic structure of the story I’m writing beforehand.

So it’s up to you. You could experiment with outlining one of your books before the first draft and see if it helps. Or you could just start with an intriguing beginning and run with it, see where it takes you. I always recommend some form of outlining, even if it is a basic page of notes on the story, but that’s just because outlining in some form or another has always helped me.

Hope this helps someone out there. Next month I’ll talk about creating character bios for your story in the writing tips for May.

Until next time . . .




Just wanted to let everyone know that THE VAMPIRE GAME is now available on Amazon/Kindle – it’s only .99 cents for a short time.

You can find it here:


Thank you, and please feel free to share this post.

The Vampire Game. Is it a myth? A legend? Damon and his friends are invited to play the game. The rules are simple: one, they must complete each task that is sent to them, and each task leads deeper and deeper into the world of vampires; and two, once they are in the game, there is no getting back out.

Cynthia (Cyn), Damon’s girlfriend, quits the game, and now Damon and his friends are stalking her. Cyn’s parents and the police don’t believe her about the vampires, so she turns to the only person she can think of to help her – Theron Metcalf, a former washed-up cop and now a private investigator.

Theron doesn’t entirely believe Cyn’s story, but the first night he meets with her, he sees something he can’t explain. The more Theron learns about the Vampire Game, the stranger things get. Soon, like Cyn, Theron will venture too far into the world of vampires.



So excited to reveal the cover for my newest book – THE VAMPIRE GAME.


I’m hoping to have this one available on Amazon in the next week or so, and it will be on sale for a short time for .99 cents. I’ll let everyone know when it’s available.

I hope you’ll check it out. Thanks!